You have enjoyed remarkable business success over the past few years, going from strength to strength and reaping the rewards. You have a product or service that’s in high demand, and you want to set your sights further afield – reach a wider audience. In fact, you want to reach a global audience. This is an exciting prospect, and the potential is astounding, but before you dive in, there are some things you should think about and put in place before taking your business global.
These seven tips will ensure you are well-prepared and equipped before expanding your established business across borders.
- Research, research, research
You can never do too much homework or be too prepared. Spend as much time as you can researching the market you’re entering, the competition you will be up against internationally, and the regulations you will need to comply with. This knowledge will ensure no unpleasant surprises and minimize obstacles. In fact, without all this knowledge, it is almost impossible to succeed in a foreign market. This primary step marks the difference between international success and failure. Consider your business from every angle and think about every scenario so that when challenges arise, you know how to manage them.
- Check out the local competition
Following on from the research phase, and very much related to it, it’s critical that you make great efforts to determine what the competition is in the area. Is anyone else offering what you are offering? At what prices? What advantages do they have that you might not? Don’t forget, an established business might have the benefit of loyal, long-term customers and clients, and if this is the case, establishing yourself might be harder than you at first anticipated – but not impossible if you are well-armed and knowledgeable about your local competitors. make an effort to find out what their unique selling propositions are, who they are targeting, and what channels they use.
- Consider the risks
Following on from the research phase – take the time to seriously consider the risks involved when expanding your business abroad. Risks can come in many forms – financial, political, and regulatory – and it’s essential that these risks are considered from all perspectives before expansion. You will never eliminate risk entirely, but prior planning can certainly minimize losses and help you to be prepared (which will include relevant insurance coverage).
- Form the right partnerships
For this massive step, you will want to surround yourself with the right people and make the right partnerships. You need to collaborate with trustworthy, reputable, and knowledgeable people, whether they be distributors, suppliers, joint venture partners, or import-export consultants. Trade consultants are critical to your international ventures – you need partners who are well-experienced in helping companies navigate foreign regulations. No matter who you partner with, make sure they have a good track record and don’t take any risks that might end up costing you.
- Don’t forget to localize
Though you have the international market on your mind, localizing is also hugely important at this point. Specifically, this means you need to adapt your services and products to meet the needs of each local market. What does this mean in practice? Well, it may be that you are expanding to a region with different cultural and ethical beliefs. It’s possible that these views may be a factor when it comes to planning how you run and localize your business. If you don’t do this, you may end up suffering bad press.
Speaking of localizing – forward-thinking businesses should consider utilizing local SEO strategies and what this can do for leads and ROI. If you have a storefront or office you want to attract customers to, this is exactly where you should begin your efforts.
- Remain flexible
Modern business owners, especially successful ones, understand that work-related things are flexible, including goals, objectives, and everyday practices. Equally, it’s crucial to remain flexible when expanding your business internationally. If the foreign market isn’t responding to your offering, you need to adapt and adjust to become successful.
7. Hire an International Team
When operating internationally, you want to find local people who can help you grow in a foreign market. Take time to assemble a local team that is well-experienced in your industry while also having knowledge of the area and partnerships that can facilitate business long-term. Now is also the right time to begin connecting with other business leaders in the area.
While this preparation and these points may seem overwhelming at first, expanding, when done right, can pay great dividends and could end up being the best thing you have ever done for your business. The most pressing point is not to rush and to consult relevant experts to ensure you are best placed for success.